fresh voices from the front lines of change








Tim Wilkins

The #PeoplesWave Is Coming To D.C.

It’s time. It’s your time. It’s OUR time. It’s time for the #PeoplesWave. Are you with us? This weekend, over a thousand People’s Action members from all across the country will gather in Washington, D.C. to compare notes, celebrate our victories, and prepare to take back the White House in 2020. People’s champions will be there to greet us – including Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), Reps. Pramila Jayapal (WA) and Ro Khanna (CA), Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Black Futures Lab founder Alicia Garza. But the most inspiring part of this #PeoplesWave convention will be the People’s Action members, and the stories they tell – folks like Bill Przylucki from POWER LA, who’s fighting for fair housing in Los Angeles, Emma Lockridge from Michigan United, who’s fighting pollution from the Marathon Petroleum Refinery in southwest Detroit, and Mary Gerisch of Rights and Democracy, who’s at the front lines demanding Medicare For All for Vermont and the entire country. We’ll be joined by the local and state champions who are People’s Action members and who we’ve helped elect – including Wisconsin's Barnes, State Senator Jeff Smith and State Treasurer Sara Godlewski, Michigan State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky and Maryland State Rep. Pamela Queen.Two years ago at our founding convention, forty People’s Action members took a pledge to take back government by running for office. Last November, we won the U.S. House of Representatives, electing an unprecedented number of women and people of color. People’s Action members and key allies are now elected officials in D.C. and all across the country, from Maine to Minnesota, Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, New York to California. They are the #PeoplesWave – but you are, too. And together, we will win.

MA Judge Prosecuted For Refusing To Help ICE

Judge charged with helping defendant escape ICE custody through back door of courthouse. CBS: "A trial court judge and a court officer have been indicted on federal charges of obstruction of justice. CBS Boston reports prosecutors allege that Newton District Court judge Shelley Joseph and court officer Wesley MacGregor helped a defendant leave through a back door to avoid being detained by an ICE officer. United States Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling announced details of the case Thursday afternoon. A short time later, the Supreme Judicial Court announced Joseph has been suspended without pay until further notice. Both Joseph and MacGregor were arraigned Thursday afternoon and pleaded not guilty. "This prosecution is absolutely political, Shelley Joseph is absolutely innocent," Joseph's attorney Tom Hoopes said outside court."

WA Funds Long-Term Care

WA first state to pass long-term care. The Intercept: "Washington State lawmakers on Tuesday passed the nation’s first long-term care benefit program, which would provide residents with up to $36,500 to pay for costs like caregiving, wheelchair ramps, meal deliveries, and nursing home fees. Jay Inslee, Democratic governor and 2020 presidential candidate, has said he intends to sign the Long-Term Care Trust Act into law. The measure is hailed as a monumental achievement not only for Washingtonians, but also for advocates working nationally to tackle the rising and formidable costs of care work and old age, something that’s become only more pressing as the baby boomer generation heads into retirement. The Long-Term Care Trust Act comes on the heels of a novel cash benefit program Hawaii launched in 2017 that distributes $70 a day for up to 365 days to family caregivers. A growing number of states have passed paid sick leave policies over the last five years, and more presidential candidates are elevating the issue of child care and how to afford it. Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s new Medicare for All bill even includes coverage of long-term care, something not currently provided by the federal insurance program. The ultimate goal, advocates say, is some kind of universal family care, a comprehensive social infrastructure to support all the varied costs of care work from birth to death. "

MI Gerrymandering Unconstitutional, Court Rules

Federal judges toss Michigan congressional map. Politico: "Federal judges threw out Michigan’s congressional and state legislative maps on Thursday, calling them unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders — but the outcome of cases already pending at the Supreme Court will likely determine whether Michigan redraws its districts before the 2020 election. A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan ruled that Republicans who drew districts for Congress, state Senate and state House violated the 1st and 14th Amendment rights of Democratic voters by packing some of them into overwhelmingly Democratic districts, while others were “cracked” into Republican-leaning districts. All of those decisions were intended, the court found, to maximize Republicans’ partisan advantage.
The court struck down nine of the state’s 14 congressional districts — the 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th districts — as unconstitutional gerrymanders. The 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th were drawn to favor Republicans, the court found, even though freshman Democratic Reps. Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens flipped the 8th and 11th districts, respectively, in the 2018 wave that gave the party control of the House. The court also found that the Democratic-held 10th and 12th districts were packed with Democratic voters to siphon them off from other districts. The court also ruled 11 state House districts and eight state Senate districts are unconstitutional gerrymanders."

FL GOP Tries To Undermine Restoration Of Voting Rights

Florida GOP Condemned for Undermining Hard-Won Voting Rights for Felons With 'Modern Day Poll Tax'. Common Dreams: "Florida state lawmakers are under fire for passing legislation critics call a "modern day poll tax" on the state's newly re-enfranchised felon voters. The legislation, H.B. 7089, would undermine last year's successful ballot initiative to restore voting rights for more than a million Floridians who have completed felony sentences by requiring them to pay all court fines and fees before they can participate in elections. The bill passed Florida's Republican-controlled state House 71-45 Wednesday, largely along party lines. Though it still needs final approval from state senators and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, progressive politicians, voting rights advocates, and civil liberties groups are speaking out against it. Kara Gross, the ACLU of Florida's legislative director, warned that "disturbingly, this legislation will cause de facto lifetime disenfranchisement for large swaths of formerly incarcerated individuals who have completed their sentences—precisely the opposite of the entire purpose of Amendment 4.'"

Dems, Wake Up: Factory Farms Are Polluting Rural America

Factory farms are polluting our water with hog manure: Democrats should take note. The Guardian: "Donald Trump is banking on riding his hardline stance on immigration to re-election in 2020. Tough talk of a wall makes headlines, but it’s a less discussed issue that could play a deciding role for voters in swing states and early primary states: the influx of factory farms and the devastating impact they have on people’s water, air and way of life. Democratic presidential hopefuls would be smart to clarify their stance on consolidated corporate agriculture, and soon. In Iowa – site of the first caucus, and a state that went for President Obama twice and then swung soundly to Trump – more than 750 waterways are impaired. The cause? Chemical fertilizers and factory farm manure. Iowa is home to a little more than 3 million people. It is also home to 26 million hogs, living on over 10,000 factory farms. These hogs produce as much waste as 65 million people. That waste, full of dangerous nitrates, runs into Iowa’s waterways and eventually the drinking water. As a result, the city of Des Moines has the largest nitrate removal system in the world. Candidates who are willing to stand up to corporate agriculture, and for clean air and water, will stand out in the primaries and the general election. If the tightly contested Democratic primary and the general election of 2016 are any indication, that could make all the difference."

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